Business Card Etiquette In Australia

If you’re looking to expand your business into new territory, acknowledging cultural etiquette is essential for success.

The Australian market is no different and so, whether you’re an Aussie or a foreign national hoping to make an impact, it’s important to abide by local etiquette to ensure your venture’s success.

On that theme, a stalwart of Aussie dealings is the business card – an indispensable tool for any Australia-based business person. If you’re serious about forging a spot in the Aussie market, nailing your card can put you ahead of the competition.

So, given their importance, and the importance of etiquette, how do the two fit together and how might one broach the subject of offering their card to potential clientele?

The Importance Of Business Cards Within Australia

With online businesses growing ever more influential, you could be forgiven for thinking that business cards are a relic of a time gone by. However, in Australia, and indeed across the wider world, business cards remain as vital to the market as a smart dress or sharp business suit.

Why? Because they link the digital and physical business worlds, providing a tangible record of online and offline contact details. Within a market the size of Australia, the value of this evergreen communicative staple cannot be overstated.

Thus, whether you’re busy networking or a business opportunity arises organically, there is scarcely a better device to help you leave a lasting impression.

Why Australians Use Business Cards To Build Relationships

Australian business culture might seem informal from an outsider’s perspective; prior to a meeting, the conversation may be jovial and even contain colourful language.

Likewise in New South Wales, Victoria, and especially in tropical northern states, the conservative business suit is sometimes rejected, with professionals sometimes opting to wear shirts, Bermuda shorts and/or a smart dress.

However, once a meeting begins, the small talk takes a back seat, body language changes and the intricacies of business etiquette begin. As such, the time for networking is fleeting and so Australians must capitalise on the short, informal window of opportunity available.

This is where the simple convenience of business cards comes into its own; a vital, unimposing, yet professional networking tactic that suits Australian business culture perfectly.

Business Etiquette When Giving Out Cards in Australia

Always have your business cards to hand

If you’re in the process of wooing a new contact, make sure you have your cards to hand. If they ask for your details and you have to scramble to locate them, your professional gloss will rapidly dissipate.

Thus, common sense dictates that you should have them to hand.

Don’t give out your card to everyone

Handing your card out to everyone not only flies in the face of Aussie business culture but diminishes its value and even smacks of desperation.

You want your clients to value your card, so treat it as a valuable commodity and cherry-pick those you hand it to.

Wait to be asked

Again, asking to leave your card with someone during an initial meeting can seem desperate.

Instead, demonstrate good manners and wait for a client to ask for your details. If they do, you can move forward knowing that they want to work with you.

Likewise, if a less valuable contact asks for your card, happily oblige. Good decision making and table manners can be the difference between success and failure, and their contact may bear fruit in the future.

Write a personal note or reminder on the card

Scribbling a concise note on the back of the card is simply a way to remind your new contact of your conversation, providing context as to who you are and why you are of value.

Keep your cards clean

Keeping your cards clean is crucial to the overall impression that you and your business make. If you provide a dog-eared or dirty card, your contact will assume that you keep your business in the same way.

Using a card case will immediately solve this issue.

What Should Be Included On Australian Business Cards

The structure of Aussie business cards is similar to the traditional format. As such, yours should reference information such as:

  • Company logo (and name if not contained within the logo).
  • Your name.
  • Job function/title.
  • Website address.
  • Contact details.
  • Company tagline (where applicable).


What are the benefits of using business cards?

Business cards are a fantastic networking tool for use during business meetings and casual events alike. Therein, the benefits of their use include:

  • Convenience: a simple, efficient way of providing your contact details.
  • Legitimacy: they provide a professional aesthetic.
  • Indirect marketing: clients may pass on your card as a recommendation.
  • Versatility: utilised for business meetings of varying size and formality.
  • Tangible: a physical reminder of you and your brand.

What should be on business cards to attract a potential client?

Aside from the classic components of a card (name, contact details etc.) the properties required to attract a potential client are subjective to your profession and target.

For example, if you’re an artist, a visual sample of your work, combined with a logo, will provide an excellent accompaniment to your contact details. On the other hand, if you run an SEO company, a simple logo and sharp tagline would suffice.

So it depends on your niche, however, a memorable logo and striking visuals are always a great start.

What shouldn’t be put on cards?

Mistakes on your card are a permanent reminder to contacts as to why they shouldn’t work with you. Don’t do the decision making for them and keep your eyes peeled for mistakes such as:

  • Outdated information.
  • Grammatical and formating errors.
  • Illegible print.
  • A lack of branding.
  • Visual clutter.
  • Poor quality materials.

In Australia, is it as common in business culture to swap business cards as it is in other countries?

It’s difficult to definitively measure the proportion of business people that use cards in your own country, let alone globally.

However, a recent poll in 2019 indicated that over 70% of businesspeople evaluate a company’s worth by the quality of its business cards.

Thus, while company culture and customs differ the world over, cards are an official language of business due to their simplicity and convenience.

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